Iranian naval forces prepare for a drill, September 9, 2020. (Photo by Mehr)
Iranian Army forces have begun holding large-scale naval drills in the countryís southern waters from east of the Hormuz Strait to the northern Indian Ocean with an aim to enhance the security of regional waters and international shipping routes.
The three-day exercises, dubbed Zolfaqar-99, kicked off on Thursday under the command of the Armyís Zolfaqar base, with observers from the Khatam al-Anbiya Air Defense Base in attendance.
The drills cover an area of two million square kilometers in the eastern waters of the Strait of Hormuz, Makran coast, Oman Sea and North Ocean India up to 10 degrees north.
Units of the Armyís Air and Ground Forces will contribute to the maneuvers, during which tactical offensive and defensive strategies will be drilled in line with the countryís agenda to safeguard its territorial waters and maritime access routes.
During the military exercises, the Armed Forces will put to test different home-made defense systems, including drones, torpedoes, surface-to-surface and coast-to-sea cruise missiles, surface-to-air and air-to-surface missiles and rocket launchers loaded on vessels.
Flotilla Admiral Shahram Irani, spokesman for the drills, said the 69th Naval Fleet, including Sahand Destroyer and Bandar Abbas Support Ship, are currently in the Indian Ocean to provide intelligence and monitor foreign and enemy vessels.
Air Force bombers and combat drones will also conduct pre-designed missions during the exercises, he added.
‘Extra-regional aircraft warned to stay awayí
Since Wednesday, when the exercises were announced, manned aircraft and drones belonging to extra-regional forces had been warned to stay away from the zone of the drills, resulting in a noticeable change in the behavior of American UAVs operating in the area, Irani said.
He further noted that in addition to F-27 and P3F aircraft, reconnaissance drones are conducting naval patrols to monitor the drills, and have issued the necessary warnings for the extra-territorial units to leave the area.
Speaking on the eve of the drills, Deputy Commander of the Iranian Army Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said the exercises are designed to both bolster the countryís combat preparedness and practice repelling any extra-regional threat.
The drills, he added, are meant to enhance the safety of regional waters and international shipping routes in West Asia.
SOURCE: PRESS TV